Is Periodontal Treatment Treatable?
Approximately 80% of the population have some form of periodontal disease. This can be any type of infection that involves the supporting tissues of a tooth and includes the gums and the bone. Sometimes it is commonly called “Gum Disease ”.
These diseases are often painless until the much later stages, and therefore can go undetected until it is too late to save the teeth. If left untreated, gum disease can destroy the bone and tissues that surround and support the teeth, causing them to become loose and painful, and eventually be lost, even though the teeth themselves may be healthy.
Other signs and symptoms of gum disease include bleeding gums, bad breath or a bad taste, swellings and abscesses, receding gums, and loose and drifting teeth, although not everybody has these symptoms, and some people have none of them.
The endpoint is loose teeth that can’t be saved and are eventually lost. There is also increasing evidence to support the relationship of gum disease being a risk factor for heart disease, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory diseases and aspects of general health.
The main cause of gum disease is bacteria found in dental plaque. This is the sticky white film that forms on your teeth daily. The bacteria produce toxins, or poisons, that irritate the gums and cause them to become inflamed, so they may swell, turn red and bleed easily, particularly when brushing. This inflammation is known as gingivitis and can be resolved with effective oral hygiene and scaling.
However, in some cases and if left untreated, the bacteria start to cause inflammation of the supporting tissues around the teeth and therefore gradually destroy the gum, bone and ligament that hold the teeth in place. This is known as periodontitis.
The gums separate from the teeth, causing gaps known as pockets. If plaque is not removed effectively, it becomes hard and forms calculus, which is the yellow chalky substance you may have had scaled away by your dentist or hygienist, also known as tartar.
Likewise, plaque can fill the pockets, which you cannot then remove because you cannot clean more than 3mm below the gum line. Calculus, therefore, forms underneath the gums, in these pockets, creating a constant irritant and contributing to further destruction, bone loss, and eventually tooth loss.
Not everybody gets gum disease to the same degree. Some people may clean their teeth very well, and have severe disease, while others may not brush well at all, and have no problem. Each individual has a different susceptibility to the bacteria in their mouths. Factors that can contribute to greater destruction include smoking, stress, general health, some particular medical conditions, such as diabetes, certain medications and genetic factors.
THE AIMS OF TREATMENT
As already mentioned, even though mostly painless until the latter stages, gum disease doesn’t just go away, and will eventually lead to tooth loss if left untreated. The main aim is to stabilise the condition and prevent any further destruction, as well as helping to improve your general health. A tooth with less bone around it to support it can still function well, provided it is not at risk of losing further support.
In some cases, it may be possible and appropriate to attempt to reform, or regenerate, bone. Likewise, previously destroyed gum tissue (recession) can also be replaced.
These procedures are mostly surgical in nature and are usually delayed until the overall condition is stabilised to a degree. They are not always necessary in order to treat the disease successfully.
Other surgical procedures include bone regeneration, gum grafting to treat recession, preparation of soft and hard tissues for placement of dental implants, removing roots from teeth that have several roots in order to prolong the life of the tooth, lengthening the crown of teeth in order to facilitate placement of crowns or improve appearance, and placement of dental implants.
For more information on Gum Disease, contact us on 020 8506 0701 today and we’ll be able to provide you with further details on how we can help you.
Non-Surgical Periodontal Therapy Using Laser 2